If you have ever wondered why a food processor vs blender comparison is so difficult, then you are not alone. There is, after all, some very specific similarities between the two appliances, while they also hold some very unique properties as well. The question is, which one will win a place in your kitchen?
The kitchen landscape has never had as many changes as it has in the past few years. Appliances have been springing up all over the place, each purporting to revolutionize our time in the kitchen even further. And while most of these are mere temporary alternatives to some of the tried and tested long-termers we already have, there are others that seem to have created a whole new market for themselves.
So much so, that many kitchens will often upgrade to only one or two of these offerings, foregoing the rest as they are no longer needed. But when it comes to both blenders and food processors, the questions have always remained about which might be the better choice. Is there even a reason to need to choose between the two? Surprisingly, it all comes down to one thing-you.
How do I settle the choice of blender or food processor?
When it comes to knowing what goes on in your kitchen, there’s no one better qualified than you. And that is because no one knows your kitchen better than you. The foods that are created is what will ultimately determine the most appropriate appliances for you and when it comes to the classic blender vs food processor showdown, the answer is to choose the one you need the most.
You see, the difference between food processor and blender models isn’t necessarily the functions they perform, but rather the foods they help you create. If you prefer creating a lot of salads for example, then a blender may help you with a dressing to some degree, but that’s probably it. Blenders aren’t too great for simple slicing functions, you see?
If you were to sit down and decide that you only wanted one or the other, my advice would be to make a list of the types of things you wanted to create with it and then compare it to the lists below, where I highlight the functions of each. The important thing here is for you to know exactly what you plan to use it for.
For some, it’s a question of space, with some kitchens barely large enough to fit a decent size fridge. There may be limited bench space, or not enough cupboard space to store the appliances after use. For others, it may be a question of money, with neither appliance being given away for free by local stores. Perhaps you can only afford one or the other, in which case, it pays to do your homework.
What types of blenders are there?
To start to understand the differences between blenders and food processors, it pays to know what types of blenders there are available. There isn’t just one type, which could be why so many people tend to get confused when trying to choose between them. Head into any small appliance store and be prepared to have your mind blown by the endless displays of blenders and food processors.
Sometimes, entire walls are filled with numerous models, all claiming to give you back time and make your job in the kitchen so much easier. When it comes to blenders, the differences between the various types actually make sense. There are four distinct models and this is what they do
Type #1: High-Speed Blender
Generally used for smoothies, sauces, milk shakes and crushed ice. Their motors have substantially more horsepower than regular blenders.
Type #2: Standard Blender
Similar to a high-speed blender, but with a less powerful motor, which in turn reduces the cost and generally the extra accessories such as cups.
Type #3: Personal Blender
Also called a space-saving blender, these are your smaller models that generally prepare single-serving sizes. Think of morning breakfast smoothies with all the goodness thrown into a single cup.
Type #4: Immersion Blender
Also called a stick blender or hand-held blender, commonly used to blend soups, sauces or anything involving your own container.
For the best idea of why blenders are so good, think about how smooth most ingredients become when used in a blender, particularly the high-speed models. Silky smooth textures whipped up in an instant. Can a food processor really compete with that?
What types of food processors are there?
Strangely enough, whilst blenders have distinct models with individual purposes, food processors all seem to do the same thing. What sets them apart from each other seems to be the attachments which you use with them.
If you look at any standard food processor, you’ll see some pretty standard accessories that normally include a mixing bowl, plus a small number of blades and discs. Spend a little more money and soon the box you carry home will contain a second mixing bowl, extra blades and larger number of spinning discs. These may include-
- Slicing disc
- French fry disc
- Julienne disc
- Shredding disc
- Whisking disc
- Peeling disc
- Mini blade
- Serrated blade
- Dough blade
- Double blade
With so many different functions, food processors carrying this many accessories appear as if they could perform most kitchen functions. But in reality, they only provide enough equipment for half the story.
Can one serve as both?
Here it is, the classic food processor vs blender question. If you’ve ever asked whether a blender can perform the functions of a food processor, or food processor the functions of a blender, then the answer is sometimes. It just depends on what you are trying to create. You see, blenders tend to have a single blade style that is generally used for blending, such as smashing the ingredients down into a billion fine pieces to make your smoothie silky smooth.
Briefly using the pulse function with a blender may leave the food in somewhat of a rough texture, but overdo it and it is quickly turned to pulp. If your blender offers various speeds, using the slowest one may also offer another option for chopping up ingredients.
As for using a food processer as a blender, it’s also a possibility. Whilst not as powerful as a blender, the blades will still do a fairly decent job of reducing ingredients into tiny little smoosh. Sauces, dips and dressings are all doable in a food processor, although for a smoother texture, you may need to let the blades run a little longer.
Deciding on one over the other is going to come down to what you need to use it for more. There’s a simple way to look at these from a distance and it involves the ingredients more than the end result. Check out the following differences and then see which you would probably create more. Only then can you really decide which the better option for you is.
What’s the difference between a blender and a food processor?
While both appliances may seem similar from first viewing, the differences between them will quickly become apparent when you look a little closer. What you’ll discover is that one will have many more attachments than the other, while one will normally come with just a single blade. To understand what each does best, here are 5 differences between them to consider. Ah, the age old food processor vs blender battle.
Consideration #1: Blending (Blender)
Considering that blending is the primary function of a blender, it’s a good a place to start as any. When it comes to blending up world-class smoothies and milk shakes, blenders win hands down. But while many often see these machines as simple smoothie creators, they actually perform a much broader task.
They also create-
- Frozen desserts
- Icy drinks
As you can see, the list is quite extensive when it comes to using your blender in the kitchen. While some may think of blenders as just fancy milkshake machines, the above list proves they can create far more than just delightful drinks.
Consideration #2: Crushing (Blender)
A lot of blenders come with blades powerful enough to crush ice cubes. Whilst said blades may not be razor sharp, it’s normally the speed itself that makes short work of ice cubes. This is mainly due to the high wattage and the powerful motors beneath the blades, running them at a much higher RPM than a food processor.
Crushing ice is a little more effective than shaved ice and offers up quite a few recipes to consider. Anything from sno-cones to margaritas spring to mind and the possibilities for crushed ice are virtually endless. Just be sure to check the power of your blender before you throw a heap of ice cubes into it. Whilst the higher-wattage units will make very short work of your cubes, the smaller and less powerful models may struggle.
Consideration #3: Grinding (Blender)
Depending on which model blender you use, some come with a specially-designed grinding blade that interchanges with the regular blades. These special blades are the perfect tool for when you need to grind up anything from nuts, to seeds, legumes and cereal.
The most common reason for grinding these ingredients is to turn them into flour. Vitamix is one of the brands that has perfected the art of grinding. They achieved this by reversing the blending process, essentially pushing the ingredients away from the blades, instead of pulling them in to blend them together.
Consideration #4: Chopping and Slicing (Food Processor)
One area where blenders definitely fall down is the art of slicing, shredding, grating and even chopping to a certain degree. Blending always reminds me of Taz, the Tassie Devil, because it just goes into full-blown mental smashing. There’s no finesse and when it comes to slicing and shredding, slow and steady wins the race here.
With the incredible number of attachments and accessories, this is where food processors take the upper hand. Anything from adjustable slicing discs to shredding discs will make light work of your next coleslaw. They can be incredibly versatile and how much you use them depends on the number of dishes you want to create.
Consideration #5: Kneading and Mixing (Food Processor)
When it comes to kneading and mixing, there’s no better tool than a trusty food processor. Kneading a wonderfully smooth dough to perfection is what food processor’s happiest moment is. Imagine all the delicious cakes, cookies, and breads you can create with one of these. Most have a kneading attachment and it’s always one of the first things I try.
When it comes to mixing up chunky salsa that a blender would destroy in a second, the food processor is perfect. Raw desserts are also one of the finer things to try out, using the kinds of ingredients that will get mouths watering.
Still haven’t made up your mind and need a final push in the right direction? Consider this, because it’s one of the easier ways to make a decision when it comes to the age old food processor vs blender battle. If you can only buy one and you need to make a decision, then a ask yourself: If you intend to use your appliance for predominantly wet recipes, like smoothies, shakes, sauces, etc, then consider a blender.
But if you know you’re going to be using it more for dry recipes, such as salads, doughs, cakes, etc, then perhaps a food processor is more to your liking. Whichever way you end up leaning, know that either choice will provide you with an amazing appliance.